ROADS on Icy Worlds Companion Course

Welcome to the NESSP Student Challenge Companion Course. This course is organized around the guiding question, “How can we use experiments, models, and rehearsals here on Earth to understand other solar system objects and plan a successful mission to Icy Worlds?” and is tied to the 2021-2022 Student Challenge, ROADS on Icy Worlds. This challenge wrapped up in 2022, but you are still welcome to use its activities and the companion lessons.

Learn more about the ROADS on Icy Worlds Challenge: Challenge Manual

Background reading about icy moons:  Why Icy Worlds? 

Lesson Organization:

The Course Outline includes guiding questions, time estimates, and other useful information:

Icy Worlds Companion Course Outline (Google Docs)

Each lesson plan is organized around the “5E” instructional model.  In the 5E approach:

  • Students ENGAGE with their current thinking, new noticings, and questions about the phenomenon
  • Students EXPLORE the phenomenon, getting direct experience with it
  • Students EXPLAIN the phenomenon, focusing on new learning and changes in thinking
  • Students ELABORATE on their new learning by applying it to a new situation
  • Students EVALUATE their learning, formally or informally

More information about the 5E model can be found here: 

Standards Alignment:

Each lesson includes alignment information for middle and high school Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Many lessons also include information on alignment opportunities for:

  • CCSS Mathematics
  • CCSS English
  • Washington State Learning Standards in Computer Science
  • 21st Century Skills 

Standards alignment information has been summarized in two formats.  Each lesson plan contains detailed standards alignment information.

Units in this Course:

Icy Worlds Unit 1: Mission Planning

How do we figure out where to go and what to do when planning a mission to another body in the solar system?

Icy Worlds Unit 2: Planetary Geology

What are the similarities and differences in how different planetary bodies are formed and change over time?

Icy Worlds Unit 3: Astrobiology

How can what we know about life on Earth guide us to other places in the solar system where life may exist now or may have existed in the past?

Icy Worlds Unit 4: Robotics and Drones

How can robotic systems aid in the exploration of our Earth and other solar system objects?